It happens to all of us gradually as we live and grow.
We discover more about who we are and the way life really is, and then we realize there are some changes we need to make.
The lifestyle we’ve been living no longer fits.
The environments and relationships we once found comfort in no longer exist or no longer serve our best interests.
So we cherish all the great memories, but find ourselves at a crossroads, choosing to embark on the first step of a brand new path.
And it’s not easy.
It’s painful to give up what’s comfortable and familiar, especially when you have no other choice. Marc and I have struggled through this process many times out of necessity.
Over the past decade, we’ve had to deal with several significant, unexpected life changes and challenges, including:
- Losing a sibling to suicide
- Losing a best friend to cardiac arrest
- Financial unrest and debt following a breadwinning employment layoff
- Breaking ties with a loved one who repeatedly betrayed us
- Family business failure (and reinvention)
- and the list goes on…
Those experiences were brutal.
Each of them, naturally, knocked us down and off course for a period of time.
But once we accepted the truth, by giving up our innocent ideals and letting go of the way things used to be, we pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.
Getting to the right state of mind—one that actually allowed us to move forward with our lives—required mindful practice.
Because when we were initially faced with each one of those brutal experiences—when we were standing at the forefront of another rocky crossroads in our lives—you better believe our minds were spinning with negative emotions.
We had to learn to catch ourselves in that negative state of emotional unrest, and then consciously calm our minds, so we could think straight and make the best decisions possible with the hand we’d been dealt.
The simplest way of doing this?
Proactive daily reminders.
It’s all about keeping the right thoughts at the top of your mind every day, so they’re readily available on those inevitable days when you need them most.
For us, that meant sitting down quietly with ourselves every morning and reflecting on precisely what we needed to remember.
We used quotes (many of which are tiny excerpts from our books) like the ones below to do just that. Some people call them affirmations, or mantras, or prayers, or convictions, but in any case, these daily reminders kept us on track by keeping calm, peaceful, productive thoughts and perspectives at the top of our minds, even when life got utterly chaotic.
We ultimately learned that peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard realities to deal with—peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still remain calm in your mind.
Challenge yourself to choose one of these quotes every morning, and then sit quietly for two minutes while repeating it silently in your mind. See how doing so gradually changes the way you think through life’s twists and turns and crossroads.